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Auto body makers back modern jeepney designs

“This modern PUV (public utility vehicle) is different. Designed in conformance to the new standards set by the Bureau of Philippine Standards, it has side doors instead of rear doors, no hood and a higher ceiling height that allows for standing passengers.  File

MANILA, Philippines — The Automotive Body Makers Association of the Philippines (ABMAP) urged critics of the new jeepney designs to have an open mind as the jeepney’s new look would usher in a safer and more convenient public mode of transportation for Filipinos.

ABMAP said many “traditionalists” have criticized the new breed of jeepney prototypes made by local body builders, saying there is a need to preserve the old iconic look of the jeepney which “has a long hood in front, low ceiling, small side doors in front, and rear opening for ingress and egress.”

“This modern PUV (public utility vehicle) is different. Designed in conformance to the new standards set by the Bureau of Philippine Standards, it has side doors instead of rear doors, no hood and a higher ceiling height that allows for standing passengers. This translates into more passengers, more revenues. Emergency exits are mandated and some units will even have provisions for PWD passengers,” the ABMAP said.

“It has also been designed to be air-conditioned. The modern PUV even has a brand new Euro 4-compliant diesel engine, brand new parts and components from bumper to bumper and an automated fare collection system to boot. All these are in consideration of the environment and of the safety and convenience of the riding public,” the group added.

The group also argued the notion that since the jeepney design seen in Metro Manila represents the Philippines, then its iconic look should be maintained.

“If you go to other areas in the country outside of Luzon, the design has evolved even further. And as always, it was dictated by whatever platform was available. In Iloilo, jeepneys have a streamlined Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla face in front of an extended rear passenger area. In Bacolod, they sport an AUV front while in Bohol and Davao, it is entirely different as well,” the ABMAP said.

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“To say therefore that the Luzon design jeepney represents the Philippines would be disregarding what the current jeepneys really are outside of Luzon. The jeepney is indeed a national icon but no one region in the country can lay claim to its design. Its design largely depends on what imported used platform is available in the market and the culture and preference of the local area,” it added.

As such, the group together with the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) and the Philippine Parts Maker Association (PPMA) said they are determined on introducing new designs that are more in tune with the present times in order to supply the requirements of the Department of Transportation’s PUV modernization program.

The government initially seeks to modernize 200,000 public utility jeepneys  across the country as part of efforts to provide a safer transport system for commuters while mitigating the effects of climate change.

The program’s end goal is to not only decongest the roads but provide safer, cleaner, healthier, and fuel-efficient transport system for Filipino commuters.

“ABMAP, TMA and PPMA would like to request the public to have an open mind and a fresh perspective to usher in the new age jeepneys which will be safer, more efficient, convenient, economical to operate and environment friendly. Welcome the modern PUV,” the group said.

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